How this trip to Dubai changed my life

written byShekar Kunder
posted on

How this trip to Dubai changed my life 21st May 2020…..


Have you ever faced a situation where you taught something awesome will happen and it turns out to be a disaster?


Some events change your life forever.


I travelled to Dubai in 2016, I stayed there for 20 odd days.


Before you start thinking of what places I visited and how much I enjoyed, let me give you the context.


I was thinking about a career switch and wanted to look for a job in my visiting visa.


I thought; I should give my life a new direction by working abroad.


My uncle (Mohan) always called me to Dubai and see if I like that place to get a job.


I was super happy that I was getting 20 days to leave from office and had few items in my list:

- Learn Cooking

- Read a lot of books

- Travel new places

- Meet some new people

- Meditate daily

- Work out daily


My mindset was to let me go to Dubai and see if I like the place to work there.


Before I reached Dubai, my uncle asked me if I will be ok to share the place with others. I said sure, I didn’t want him to spend a lot on my stay.


He told me to come over and not to worry about money.


I trust my uncle to death, so I travelled without money.


I had a completely different expectation about the place, and I thought it will be really fun to visit this place.


Funny story:

- In my flight, I told my co-passenger that my uncle is getting his car and he will drop him to his destination if it is on the way. I used his phone to call my uncle. Then I got my first surprise, my uncle came by the metro. He understood that he must travel on his own now. I felt sorry to make him wait for 30 minutes.


Now reality started hitting me, all my expectations were turning out to be different.

We got into the metro and reached the place where my stay was arranged, again one more surprise it was a small place and I was sharing the room with 3 folks.


My uncle had arranged food for me, but I said no I will cook my food. (Remember my to-do list)


I understood one thing that my uncle had arranged all this with a lot of difficulties.


The economy was not that great, and things looked gloomy. My uncle gave me 14000 INR for my expenses. He got me a new bedsheet and pillow and made all the arrangements for my stay.


I got one more truth bomb when my uncle said that he won’t be staying with me.


He stays in Jebel Ali and he arranged my stay in Bur Dubai as it is the city center. He planned to travel daily post work. It was like 40 minutes of travel in the metro. I told him to chill, I would figure this out on my own. We decided to meet on his holidays.


I understood I was on my own.


Week 1 I tried to make friends with my roommates, one roommate helped me a lot with finding jobs and everything. I had an annoying person sharing the bunker bed. He would lose his shit if I move around.


Everyone would go to work, and I used to be alone.


I stayed applying for a few jobs.


I called a few friends, most of them were busy. I made plans to meet a few of them.

Dubai is crazy expensive, and I had limited funds to spend for 20 odd days.


I didn’t want to go back to my uncle asking for more money.


My focus was to line up some interviews.


Few days passed; my situation didn’t get any better.


I spoke to my mom and she instantly understood that I was not happy there.


I regretted not going to Northeast India (my friend was travelling there) and choosing to come to Dubai.


I made up my mind that I will not take up a job here. So, I stopped looking for any jobs.

I wanted to spend the rest of my days exploring the place. I still had a lot of time to turn this around.


Most of my friends, who said they will meet me, didn’t turn up. Some of them said busy and few of them avoided communication.


A few of my relatives also didn’t turn up.


It was a bad feeling, being alone and feel like shit daily.


I had my mom’s cousin brother(Suresh) working in a restaurant, so I would go there daily and have lunch with him.


All my planning went out of the window. I was feeling lonely and hated the place.


My new routine:

- Get up around noon.

- Walk towards Suresh uncle restaurant, it was around 15 mins walk.

- Have lunch with him

- Sleep in the afternoon time

- Eat some evening snack

- Come back to my place, watch movies, and sleep in the morning.


I felt like shit, watched a lot of porn, I was eating junk to feel good. I felt worse each passing day.


I didn’t workout at all. I went for jog once.


I didn’t think of cooking once. That place had too many restrictions.


I would normally have dinner in a nearby restaurant.


Week 2 Mohan uncle visited me; we had a good time.


He showed me a few places.


I told him that I’m not looking for any job and I would chill for the remaining time.

He was impressed that I had figured out travelling in the metro and he was confident that I would be able to handle things easily.


We visited the Dubai mall; it was crazy huge.


I saw Burj Khalifa for the first time and was blown away by the structure.


The best part was he took me to the only Hindu temple in Dubai. You must take a ferry to reach there.


The temple was very peaceful, I started going regularly as I would love to take the ferry and have some peaceful time.


Meanwhile, I met a college friend Resmi, it was awesome to hang out with her and Bonny (Her husband).


They sponsored a cruise ride with dinner. I’m grateful for that experience.


Suddenly Dubai didn’t suck that big, I was around fun people and I enjoyed hanging out with them.


There were in Dubai only for 4 days more days as they were visiting India for Christmas.

I went to their house party; they had invited a lot of friends. It was a fun night with a lot of jokes.


I bought some gifts for them before they left for India.


I visited Jumeriah beach on my own.


Week 3 Things started to change, I started enjoying my stay


Mohan uncle took me to Abu Dhabi to visit the Grand mosque and took me to Ras Al Khaimah, it has Hajar mountains. Families come in their car, eat, and chill.


We did the desert safari, it was fun. Nice music, dance, and good Arabic food.


I met an old college friend Srikant, who also helped me to see the places.


We roamed around in his car.


He took me to Palm Jumeriah; Gold Souk and we tasted some local food.


After seeing my post on Facebook, a school friend named Vivek called me. He planned to meet for dinner.


He showed me the Dubai Marina area.


Now I still had money left with me and wanted to spend everything.


I ate like a king in the last few days. I ate so much food.


I use to eat falooda daily.


Year-End Story: I heard that there is an amazing firework at Burj Khalifa on 31st night. I got on a metro and to Burj Khalifa. The atmosphere was superb. People were in a happy mood. The light work is something, for 15 minutes there are fireworks. You are in the moment.


People were jumping around and having a good time. Well, everything was perfect until I started returning. There was a huge crowd and the police were not letting people enter the metro station. They could handle the crowd. They were hitting people, some of them were sneaking from a different point to get the metro. It is a real crazy situation, very close to a stampede. I was just thinking we handle more than this crowd daily in Mumbai. It is very easy to show development when you have less population to handle.


I wanted to gift Suresh uncle, Srikant, and Mohan uncle for all their help. So I bought a shirt for all of them.


On my last day, Mohan uncle bought me a backpack and that is the best gift I have ever received. Since getting that bag, I never have stopped travelling. I’m still grateful for it.

I also made friends with my roommate. I got to know him better.


Eventually, it turned out a good trip. My initial days were hard but then I turned it around.


Let's talk about Dubai :

- Dubai is one of the liberal cities in the Arab world.


- It is one of the good cities to travel. There are some amazing places to see.


- You don’t feel you are outside India, as you will see a lot of Indians staying there.


- It is an expensive city, so plan your trip in advance


- Do visit Grand Mosque, Dubai Maria, Burj Al Arab, and Burj Khalifa. Also, take the ferry ride. They have a cruise ride and there is also a water ferry that takes you the city tour. There is also hop on hop off services.


- The Dubai mall is amazing. I have never seen such a huge mall. You are bound to get lost.

- After growing up in Mumbai, you wouldn’t be too impressed with a bigger and better mall. Someone who has not seen a mall, then it is a unique point for them. I had not much interest in seeing various malls.


- I didn’t like it that much, it is all flashy. A fake picture is presented to keep you away from reality.


- The reality is people staying, have to face a lot of struggle daily. The rent is very expensive. I saw how hard it was for my uncle to make a living there. I never want to live a life like this. I’m sure there are some amazing opportunities as well.


- When our relatives come from abroad with a lot of goodies, we tend to forget the hardship they face on get these gifts.


Conclusion and Lessons Learnt:

- Do your due diligence, don’t have blind trust in anyone. You can always depend on yourself.


- Research about the place before you travel.

- I had some amazing time thanks to the people around. Be good to people, you never know who will help you. Some of them can get you out of the mess.


- Do keep backup funds in case of an emergency.


- I was very happy on my return flight to India.



I see you in the next one.